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Single-sided hearing loss, or unilateral hearing loss, is a condition in which you can not hear out of one of your ears. Single-Sided Deafness can offer unique challenges, but here are some ways you can learn to live with it.

Let others know about your single-sided deafness

If a person you are talking to doesn’t know about your single sided deafness, they can’t do anything to help. There are simple things anyone can do to help and accommodate your hearing loss, such as moving to your better ear or positioning you on a certain side of the room. However, they cannot do anything if they don’t know. 

You may find it easier to explain your situation to the people you are closest to and interact with often, but you may struggle to explain your condition to people you interact with once or on occasion such as waiters, co-workers etcetera.   

Learn how to educate those around you to support you

As you live with this condition you will find what works for you and how to best communicate that to the people around you. For instance, repeating back what you heard when asking for clarification, or pointing at your ear if people forget. While it may take a while to get used to it, this will eventually become second nature.

Try to be as clear as possible when you tell someone and give them specific actions they can do to be heard better. For instance, asking them to walk on a certain side or looking directly at you. Be prepared to gently remind people as you interact. Since this is not a visible issue, it is easy for people to forget, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care. Don’t be afraid to gently advocate for yourself.  Letting people know and advocating for your needs can go a long way to help you deal with your hearing loss. There is no need to suffer in silence.

Explore hearing aids or other treatment for single-sided hearing loss

While it is possible to live with single-sided hearing loss, there have been several advances in hearing technology that can treat your unilateral hearing loss.

Advanced hearing aids can transfer sound wirelessly from the better ear to the impacted ear which can compensate for single sided deafness. Ask your hearing professional about any new technology available to you.

Some other treatments include Bone-anchored implants, and cochlear implants 

What is sudden single-sided hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is when the cilia, or the tiny nerves in the ear are damaged. This type of hearing loss is permanent and usually happens gradually over time. The most common cause of this type is excessive noise, although diet, exercise, genetics and some medications can also be an issue.

Sometimes there is a “sudden” type of hearing loss. Typically hearing is lost in one ear over a period of several days. Sounds slowly become more muffled and certain frequencies or pitches become hard to hear.

What causes sudden sensorineural hearing loss?

There are many reasons this may occur, and it is important to work with your doctor to discover the cause of this sudden hearing loss. This cause may be as simple as a very loud noise or bad ear infection but can be very serious. Some of the common causes of SSHL include high blood pressure, Ototoxic drugs, head trauma, and many others. If you experience SSHL it is important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Make sure to bring any medications you’re taking, prescription or otherwise.

Is unilateral sudden sensorineural hearing loss treatable?

Unlike sensorineural hearing loss, often SSHL is treatable. However, If not treated promptly the chance of reversing the effect wane quickly. If treated quickly, about 50% of patients will recover some or most of their hearing

In about 15% of cases, there is a single primary cause that can be treated. 

SSHL can be scary but you are not alone, 1 in 5000 people each year will be diagnosed with sudden deafness. That’s about 4000 per year with most sufferers being under 50.

Unilateral hearing loss and SSHL can be a challenge to deal with but there are many ways to handle it and live with it. The most important thing is to not delay your treatment. Reach out to us today to schedule a hearing exam. 

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